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South Carolina business group hopes workforce act will help with worker shortage

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(The Center Square) — While a new National Federation of Independent Business survey shows that finding qualified workers remains challenging, a South Carolina business association hopes a new law will lessen the burden.

“Our small business members say it’s hard for them to find and keep qualified people, but we’re hopeful that H.3726, passed by the legislature and signed into law this spring by Gov. Henry McMaster, will go a long way toward remedying the situation,” NFIB State Director Ben Homeyer said in an announcement.

Proponents say H.3726, the “Statewide Education and Workforce Development Act,” will lead to a “more coordinated approach” in the state’s “workforce and education pipeline.”

It establishes the Office of Statewide Workforce Development Coordination under the Department of Employment and Workforce to coordinate publicly funded workforce initiatives, such as scholarships and apprenticeship programs. It also moves the Coordinating Council for Workforce Development from the Department of Commerce to the DEW.

As part of the measure, which took effect on May 19, the CCWD will develop a Unified State Plan that provides “a systemwide approach to streamline and unify” the efforts of agencies “involved in education and workforce development” in South Carolina.

According to a February fiscal estimate from the South Carolina Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office, DEW anticipated the measure would require 35 full-time equivalent employees and increase spending by $7.4 million in fiscal 2023-24 and $4.4 million in subsequent years. Other costs include a one-time $3 million expenditure in fiscal 2023-24 for a career coach, facility improvements, technology and professional services.

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